SBD/Issue 145/Sports MediaPrint All
Madden Retires After 30
Years As NFL Broadcaster
BEHIND THE RETIREMENT: Madden said of his retirement, “It’s kind of on my terms. Everybody’s going to say, ‘Madden retires. What’s wrong?’ There’s nothing wrong with me.” He added, "The thing that made it difficult is not because I’m second-guessing, ‘Is is the right decision,’ but I enjoyed it so damn much.” Madden said he notified Ebersol “about a week ago” about the decision, and they talked about “some other possibilities," including Madden doing "part of a season or something like that” (KCBS-AM, 4/16). Ebersol said he spent all day yesterday with Madden at his California home making "sure he was sure about his decision." He reiterated in a media conference call that Madden's health did not play a role, noting Madden had passed a physical in recent weeks. (THE DAILY).
PRAISE FROM COLLEAGUES: NBC's Al Michaels, who worked with Madden the past seven years, including four at ABC, in a statement said, "There's never been anyone like him and he's been the gold standard for analysts for almost three decades." Michaels: "I'll miss working with John on many levels. As a broadcast partner, I could always count on him -- no one ever came to work more prepared" (NBC). Pat Summerall, who worked with Madden at both CBS and Fox, said he was “shocked” when Madden informed him last night of the decision. Summerall: “I don’t think he had any hobbies other than football and breaking down film" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/16).
ONE OF A KIND: THE SPORTING BLOG's Spencer Hall writes, "Madden sought to do what a good chef does, working with the quality ingredients he had in front of him, and adding garnishes only when possible." Last year, he was "still doing what few other color men could do: communicate effectively and concisely with the viewer in a short burst to show you precisely how a running back popped loose for a 30-yard touchdown" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/16). In DC, Mark Maske: "He was known for his offbeat style and his football sound effects as well as his insight into the nuances of the sport" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/16). MSNBC's Willie Geist said Madden had a "style that made you feel like he's one of you." The retirement is "sad news for sports fans who of a certain age have never known football without John Madden's face, without John Madden's voice." Geist: "Even if you were not a diehard football fan, you know who John Madden is" (MSNBC, 4/16). ESPN’s Chris McKendry said Madden had a “larger than life personality” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/16).
Madden's Videogame Has Made
Billions Of Dollars Since Debut
LEAVING AT THE RIGHT TIME: YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase writes, "It won't feel the same without Madden calling games on any network this year ... but it's the right time for Madden to hang up his microphone." Chase: "To go out now is to go out with his legacy preserved" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/16). SPORTS BY BROOKS writes, "At 73, it was a matter of time before he retired and based on his performance the last couple years, he made the right call to step aside gracefully" (SPORTSBYBROOKS.com, 4/16). Syndicated radio host Jim Rome said, "Announcers are like athletes -- you don't want to stay too long" ("The Jim Rome Show," 4/16).
The NBA has signed a multi-year deal with DirecTV that widens NBA TV's distribution. The deal moves NBA TV from its Premier Package and Sports Pack to its Choice Xtra Package, which has about 9 million more subscribers, sources said. As part of the deal, NBA TV will move from channel 601 to channel 216. The deal comes after news broke that Comcast was close to a deal that would see it move NBA TV onto its digital basic tier by the start of next season. Sources said that a deal with the country's second biggest cable operator, Time Warner Cable, could be close. NBA TV currently is in about 15 million homes.
Editor Says SI Has To Be
More Than A Magazine
CBS' MMOD Earns $30M From Advertisers
Versus for its 56 regular-season NHL telecasts this season averaged 310,000 viewers (0.3 cable rating), up 14% from 272,000 viewers (0.3 cable rating) for 58 telecasts last season. The net averaged 305,000 viewers for 33 telecasts before the All-Star break this season, and 318,000 viewers for 23 telecasts following the break. Maple Leafs-Red Wings on October 9 was the net's most-viewed regular-season game with 577,000 viewers, and was one of only three regular-season telecasts to earn over 500,000 viewers (Penguins-Red Wings on November 11, Sharks-Bruins on February 10). Meanwhile, NBC through nine regular-season NHL telecasts has averaged a 1.1 rating with 1.6 million viewers, up 10% and 13.7%, respectively, from last year's final figures of a 1.0 rating and 1.4 million viewers for 10 telecasts. Final data for last weekend's Red Wings-Blackhawks game were not available at presstime. The game earned a 0.6 overnight Nielsen rating. Viewership figures were also up for telecasts in Canada, with the CBC, RDS and TSN all seeing gains. The chart below lists final viewership figures for NHL broadcast partners, with comparisons to last season (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).'08-09 NHL NATIONAL TV VIEWERSHIP FOR U.S., CANADIAN NETSNETTELECASTSVIEWERS (000)% +/-NBC91,61613.7%CBC: "Hockey Night in Canada"521,0004.9%RDS (French language)1206507.4%TSN^8245111.9%Versus5631014.0%
^ = Includes pregame ratings for some games. Maple Leafs Regional Broadcasts
Down 19%, But TSN Ratings UpNational BroadcastsNETVIEWERS (000)% +/-CBC (early games)1,2325%CBC (late game)7384%
"HNIC" (pre-game show)45017% TSN47917%SportsNet Regional BroadcastsNETVIEWERS (000)% +/- Canucks32127% Maple Leafs319-19% Oilers1569% Flames13915% Senators72-33%
ON THE FLY: In Pittsburgh, Lafferty & Moran report FS Pittsburgh averaged a 6.9 local rating for Penguins telecasts during the regular season, a "record-high rating." FS Pittsburgh's "Live Penguins Post-Game" also "recorded record-high ratings," averaging a 2.5 local rating. FS Pittsburgh has "led all FSN regional sports networks in NHL game ratings for the past two seasons." Meanwhile, Lafferty & Moran report WXDX-FM, which has carried Penguins games for the past three seasons, has "agreed on a six-year contract extension, beginning this fall," with the team (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/16).
Ratings For Sharks' Games
On CSN Bay Area Up 55%
FROZEN IN TIME: CABLEFAX DAILY reports NHL Center Ice subscribers "can now get replays of same-day games." The enhancement "allows each current day's game to re-air approximately 1-hour after the live game ends," and each game will "replay in its entirety and will repeat continuously overnight and the next day, on the same channel, until the following day's live games begin" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 4/16).
Adam Schefter's Contract With NFL
Network Expires In August
WHAT ABOUT BOB? MLB Network's Bob Costas will offer play-by-play for the net's coverage of today's Indians-Yankees game, his first time calling an MLB game since the '00 Yankees-Mariners ALCS. Costas said of returning to the booth, "I imagine there is some aspect of it that is like riding a bike, and then there is a little bit of rust to knock off. I don't anticipate any major problems, but is it possible that by the third or fourth game I'll be in a slightly better rhythm than the first game? Yes, I guess that's possible." Costas said he missed "being around the game on an ongoing basis, talking with baseball people on an ongoing basis and being steeped in the game" (THE DAILY). MLB.com's Tom Singer wrote Costas' call of the game, the first regular-season contest at the new Yankee Stadium, "will be visible proof of MLB Network's progress" since its January 1 launch (MLB.com, 4/13).
BUILDING BLOCKS: In DC, Tim Lemke wrote MLB teams "should never underestimate the value of having a good play-by-play man that is respected and admired by fans." The Nationals, "with their tumultuous short history, would be wise to provide as much consistency in the broadcast booth as possible." If Nationals TV announcers Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble "get along as well as they say they do," then they and MASN "should do whatever it takes to keep them together in that booth for the next two decades" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 4/15).
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED: In Philadelphia, Michael Klein reported Ray Didinger, who accepted a buyout from NFL Films in February, last week signed a deal to work full-time for CSN Philadelphia. Didinger, who had appeared on the net's "Eagles Postgame Live" since its inception in '97, will "turn up all over the schedule and on the Web, including csnphilly.com, 'Daily News Live,' and 'SportsNite'" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/12).
Watch The Clip
COOL RECEPTION: YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase reported a trailer for "The Cooley Zone," a "web-based look at the life" of Redskins TE Chris Cooley, was "released on YouTube this week." The show is "supposed to debut this summer, but it's not exactly clear where." If producers "didn't use up all the good footage in the trailer, 'The Cooley Zone' has tremendous potential." But one person who "may not find it funny" is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as in the trailer there is a "lot of cursing [and] boozing. Chase: "With a promise of 'behind-the-scenes Redskins action', it will be interesting to see if the NFL doesn't want fans entering 'The Cooley Zone'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/15).
SECOND TO NONE: CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS' Ed Sherman wrote while the ESPN "mothership has a severe East Coast bias," one "won't hear that rap about ESPNChicago.com." ESPN wants the site to be a "one-stop shop for Chicago sports fans," and it has the "power to pull it off." Sherman wrote fans "can't underestimate the video component and ESPN's ability to deliver experts" like MLB analyst Peter Gammons or NFL analyst John Clayton "talking about Chicago teams." Sherman: "It would be foolish to bet against this project" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 4/15).